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Prunus Avium Plena, the Double Flowered Wild Cherry tree, is a cultivar that has been cultivated since the 1700’s and is still very much in demand for its stunning spring show of blossoms and general utility as a landscape tree. Because of its beauty and hardiness it has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
This Wild Cherry tree makes a dramatic show in late April and May, when it is smothered in brilliant white double flowers that hang in clusters from the branches. Its leaves have a bronze tinge when they first emerge, turning fully green through the summer, before giving a bright autumn show of yellow and orange. The branches form an even, symmetrical shape. The double flowered wild cherry tree is sterile and will produce no fruit.
Prunus avium Plena is a tough tree which is winter-hardy throughout the UK and northern Europe. It will reach 9 metres in height within 20 years, with an eventual height of 12 metres and spread of 8 metres in 50 years. The double flowered wild cherry tree needs little pruning to maintain its symmetrical shape that is pleasing even in winter when the branches are bare.
Plant your wild cherry in alkaline to neutral soil in full sun, in any soil type, as long as it is well-drained. Add organic matter to the soil when planting. It can be planted in an exposed or sheltered position, although it will not do as well in a very windy location. The double flowered wild cherry tree does well in an urban setting, as it is tolerant to pollution.
Prunus avium Plena should be placed with a view to its eventual size. While it will grow too large for a small garden, it makes an excellent specimen tree for a focal point in a medium to large lawn, where its splendid spring show of blossoms, autumn colour, and symmetrical structure will provide year-round interest for decades to come.
In the country the double flowered wild cherry tree is a perfect choice for lining an avenue or roadway, where its lack of fruit is an advantage. On a large property a grouping of Prunus avium Plena would be a stunning sight in spring when in full bloom. A wild cherry would also make an excellent addition to an ornamental woodland.
Prunus avium Plena has been grown by UK gardeners for more than 200 years, and with good reason. Its spring blooms, autumn colour, and classic silhouette will provide year-round beauty for many years.